{"Keeping it Personal" Radio Interview!}

Good afternoon We are His daughters, friends!

About a week ago now Keeping it Personal Radio personality, Teri Johnson, approached our president, Mandy Hill about being a guest on her Thursday afternoon radio show!

With excitement, Mandy agreed to share a bit about her faith journey and touch on some of the unexpected circumstances that she has faced in her life so far.

image

We would be so honoured if you would join Mandy and Teri at KIPRadio!

www.kipradio.com

Have a wonderful day, friends!

image

{Parenting} Fruits of the Spirit.

By: Sarah Oates-Walker

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

My husband is a pastor and I have heard him say several times,“You can always tell how much time someone is spending with Jesus, you just have to look at the fruit in their life!” Are they increasingly loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and showing self-control? Are these qualities present in their lives, not just on their good days, but are they existent during hard times or conflict?

Some days I take a step back and think, “I am doing pretty good with my “fruit” these days!” But the real test is when I am at home with my children. Having kids helps you take a second look at your fruits of the Spirit! They can help you by being a daily reminder in what areas you are lacking. When there is constant fighting, never-ending whining, sleepless nights and a variety of endless demands, it can be so easy to become irritated and quickly lose some of those much-needed fruits.

I had felt like God was placing this topic on my heart this week. As I sat down to write, my two little ones climbed into my chair and began with a never-ending series of requests:

“Mommy, play with me!

Mommy, I’m cold!

Mommy, I dropped my toy!

Mommy, I’m hungry again!

Mommy, I more to drink!

Mommy, Mommy, MOMMY………….!!!!!”

Sadly, it did not take long for me to use my stern “mom voice” and say, “Knock it off! I have told you several times already, and I WILL NOT TELL YOU AGAIN! I will help you and play with you in just a few minutes!” This caused my three-year-old to burst into tears. How convenient that, just as I began to write on this topic, I was instantly reminded this morning that I am sometimes lacking in patience, kindness and gentleness! Yikes!

We are not always at our best, especially with those we are most comfortable with – the people we love the most. They see us at our worst and at our best. It is in those moments that I realize how much I need Jesus in my life and that I cannot make it without him!

My children are watching me every day and taking note of my behaviour. They often imitate me perfectly, through their actions, words and tone of voice! Sometimes, it is cute to watch – other times, it is shockingly revealing.

It is my prayer and my hope that more and more they will see me at my best, shining with God’s love and grace. Overflowing with the fruits of the Spirit. Inspiring them to live their own Jesus-centered life.

{Parenting} The importance of learning about and experiencing faithfulness

By: Cindy Morrone

“But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)

“Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (Psalm 36:5)

“Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.” (Psalm 119:90)

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
“God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 1:9)

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

There are scriptures upon scriptures that describe our God as faithful. That He is trustworthy, steadfast, constant, loyal, reliable….I have a hard time defining God’s character with merely words. His faithfulness is so much more than words; it is a knowing that He doesn’t change, nor does His Word, nor does His character. He is not fickle and is not blown by this wind or that; this thought or that. He remains steadfast in His love for us, and whenever we feel distant from Him; it is not Him that has moved.

In the everyday, I can become frustrated that I haven’t done enough to show my precious ones how much I love them and how I want their lives to be abundant. The disappointment happens, when I can’t fit in the ‘extras’, like jumping on the trampoline with them or sitting to read together. Like, we bought a seed starter kit a couple of weeks ago now and there it still sits on the counter while a calendar tells me it’s too late.

As I go to my Lord with my frustrations, He ever so kindly reminds me of the things I am doing that exhibit His character. The simple, everyday things that are so important to a child’s well-being. Like continuity in daily routines, regular meals, warm beds, clothing, and met needs. Secure relationships that are there no matter what. Those persons that are there when we lay our heads down at night and when we awake in the morning; faithful, like the sun rising and setting every day. Those who are there when we have boo-boos and those who celebrate with us. Constant and true…..reliable in the everyday!

Dear Heavenly and Gracious Father,
Thank You Lord, God for the honour and privilege to be a parent; to love on those You have placed in our lives. Encourage us Lord in our parenting endeavors; sometimes we can ‘feel’ so discouraged that somehow we are not meeting a certain mark. Thank You for Your reminders that in the everyday are opportunities to introduce our precious ones to You and Your character. Lead, guide and direct us and may we parent in Your strength, wisdom and love. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

{Parenting} A mixed plate of emotions!

By: Mandy Hill

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Parenting is one of those privileges that offers a mixed plate of emotions.

I was thinking about this recently as I watched the excitement on my nearly two year old son’s face as he smeared his teeny little adorable handprint…..all over my freshly Windex’d window. How quickly we loose sight of the plethora of reasons we have to give thanks, when something doesn’t go as perfectly as we’d hoped!!

image

“Nooooo!” I said as I watched my efforts fade away into a smudged mess. As quickly as I said it, he turned and walked toward me offering me a tender hug of apology. Afterward he quickly returned to his fresh canvas and continued to make the window ‘his own‘.

As I watched Spencer completely discount the work I put into making my window sparkle….I couldn’t help but sit back and thank God for his precious life and that award-winning smile! As I spectated, I realized just how proud he was of this ‘mess’ he was making! He was bursting with pride as he’d look from the window to me, summoning my approval! I walked over and sat beside him and played along, filling his little heart to the brim. “Momm-ee” he’d say, and point; beaming with excitement at his masterpiece.

Sisters, when those fingerprints start to fade away, I don’t want to look back and regret wasting so much time trying to wash them away! I want to embrace each moment, each smudge, each smile and tuck each one into my heart.

My daughter brought home a Christmas ornament from school with this beautiful poem tucked inside:

Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small,
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls.
But everyday I am growing,
-I’ll be grown up someday,
And all these tiny handprints
Will simply fade away.
So here’s a little handprint
Just so you can recall,
Exactly how my fingers looked
When I was very small.

Yes, parenting is a mixed plate of emotions! Some days that plate is piled high 🙂 But, even on the hardest of days, I want to be found thanking and praising my God, for every single moment.

Thank You, Jesus, for the the precious lives that You have entrusted to our care. Thank You for every smile, every finger smudge, every tender hug. I pray that we will always give thanks; in all our circumstances. I am so overwhelmed by Your love and the many blessings You have given to me; thanks doesn’t even begin to cut it! I love you so much, Jesus, amen!

{Faith} Dead Silence

blog bud

Offered by Cindy Morrone

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)

There have been some significant times in my faith journey where I have felt very alone. When it seems that no one is able to understand or relate to what I am going through, not even those closest to me. Even with their most compassionate efforts, there remains an empty void. Those times are difficult, but I believe necessary, so I can return to my highest loyalty… that is my Abba, Father. These are seasons of check for me making sure my Lord has Lordship over me and my life.

Then there are other times, so much more difficult when I have felt that my Lord is silent. When I know that He has not left me (Hebrews 13:5) and has heard my prayers (Psalm 116:1 & 2) but He is delaying the answer. There have been some very long, seasons in my life fraught with silence. Experiencing infertility was one such time, and our recent period of losses, another. I didn’t stop crying out to the Lord, I didn’t stop praying and I didn’t stop asking for others to pray for me. I didn’t stop believing, but the wait was so difficult. The situations were not changing and the circumstances remained the same for seemingly a very, long time.

Silence…,waiting….,delay….

Having gone through these times, I am more certain now that the Lord although silent for a time never stopped responding.

Like the rainbow is a sign of an everlasting covenant between God and all life on earth (Genesis 9), I see the early buds on trees a sign of God’s constant care. Have a look. Even in snow covered grounds, below freezing temperatures and iced rivers, buds begin to appear. I thought the trees were in a dead sleep, dormant all winter with nothing happening; silenced by the loss of their leaves. But all the while something was occurring and in due time new life can be seen.

Although some seasons for us can look and feel that same way; dead, dormant and silenced; the truth is that God never stops responding to our prayers and petitions and in His due time newness will be given.

Dear Heavenly and Gracious Father,
Lord, God, thank You for seasons when we can’t depend on our circumstances or anything or anyone other than You! Because it is truly in these times, Lord where our Lordship is established and when we build our foundation on a rock! When we will be delivered from the pit in due time by Your mighty hand (1 Peter 5:6) And praise will be on our lips, “I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliver; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. “(Psalm 18:1 & 2)

{Parenting} The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

By: Mandy Hill

Then little children were brought to Him for Him to lay His hands on them and pray. But the disciples scolded those who brought them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” And He placed His hands on them and went on His way. (Matthew 19:13-15)

Last Friday I talked about a miracle that was taking place in my daughters body after being in hospital for a week. She had just had surgery on her bladder/kidneys exactly one week prior and we witnessed a miracle as we watched her go from no output at all, to literally watching the floodgates open wide.

Well, today marks day 16, and we are still here. We have seen many miracles along the way and God has spoken to my heart almost every single one of those 16 days.

More specifically the last several nights have been difficult. My daughter, Sophia, has been recovering wonderfully during the day….but then suffering much with pain during the night. This results in lack of sleep for the both of us; and provides solitary time for Mommy to worry.

As I was worrying a couple nights ago, I was prompted with this verse: Do not worry about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

God was giving me precious time to spend leaning on Him, and I was wasting it away with worry. Feeding doubts and starving hope.

As I began to turn my worry into prayers and thankfulness….I was also reminded of the verse where Jesus tells the children to come to Him. I quickly got out of my bed, walked over and knelt beside my daughters bed. In her anguish, I told her we were going to pray and ask Jesus to help us. This was four in the morning and she soon after fell into a restful sleep that brought us through to 8am! Thank you, Jesus. And, as she drifted off into a peaceful sleep, peace settled into my heart and I was also able to sleep.

Last evening, I prayed as I tucked her in that she would find rest and healing through the night. She prayed as well “Jesus, please keep my belly safe and don’t let the boo-boos come back!” We turned out the lights for her around 9:30pm and she slept straight through until 6am! Another miracle.

God has given me some pretty remarkable doses of peace along this journey. He is teaching me much, but I think the most incredible thing He has allowed me to be a part of so far is allowing me to show Sophia that “in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.” I pray that even though she is young, she is a wise three year old and will remember the times that we called out to God and He helped us. He gave us peace. He answered our prayers. He gave us another miracle.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your peace in our times of worry. Thank you for your new mercies every morning! Thank you for your faithfulness in all situations. Jesus I pray that you will continue to work a healing in Sophia’s body. You know the reasons why we are here and why this journey has been longer than we expected. I pray that you will see it through and bring us home to the rest of our family soon. In times of worry, I pray that you will never let me forget to turn to you, to always pray instead. Help me to gently and effectively teach my daughter this same lesson, so that she may grow to be a woman who always turns to you in times of trouble. Thank you Jesus for her life, I know you have bright plans for her future. In your name, amen.

{Faith} Our moving story!! (Part III)

By: Mandy Hill

And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6)

Here we are….part three of our moving story! This is where the puzzle really starts to take its shape….where we really see what a treasure God has prepared for our family.

To catch up….HERE is part two.

So, yes there was an offer on our home. But everything came to a crashing halt when the home inspection was not passed. The home inspection was not completed by a professional, but a relative so we had some question on whether it should have even been allowed to go through….however, they dropped their offer.

Let me be honest. At this point with all the trouble we had I started to wonder if we should really be looking to move at all. Was our house EVER going to sell? A close friend of mine prayed for me and reminded me that when something good is about to happen, the enemy does his best to destroy us first. That reminder brought the peace I needed. I decided to just trust; it’s all I had. Just trust God.

One week later we had another offer placed on our home and everything was processed beautifully. They had their financing lined up, their insurance went through, and their professional home inspector approved our home with flying colors!!

That home for purchase that we had loved so much….that beautiful home that was more than $40,000 out of our price range?? Well, that home’s owners were getting really anxious to start building their new home and they were cutting their price on what seemed like a weekly basis! Their home entered our price range just at the perfect time, so we jumped on offering …..and it too was accepted!!!!

We had been praying so so hard that God would first, find the perfect buyers for our home and second, help us find a house that was perfect for our family, in our price range, at the right time. He was so faithful in answering all those things– even though timing wise we were starting to get impatient. He had a plan the whole time!!!

Our moving date was set for August 1! And after some unbelievable circumstances with our mortgage and the bank (like when the bank deposited our finances to the wrong lawyer on moving day!!)…..etc, we finally closed our sale and purchase deals and began our new journey in our new home 🙂

It was a whirlwind; just ask anyone that knows us! But, we are so blessed by the treasure that God had waiting for us at the end of that journey. “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Father God, our move is one of the highlights of my faith journey so far. You grew us all along the way, fine tuning our instinct to turn to you in every moment. Thank you for taking that special time to grow us, mould us and shape us as we patiently waited for your direction and answers to our prayers! For my sisters who are ‘waiting’ for your response, Jesus I pray that you would resonate peace within their hearts that you got this! That you are taking care of things even when it feels like all hope is lost! I pray this in your name, Jesus, Amen.

{Faith} Our moving story! (Part II)

By: Mandy Hill

And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6)

If you need to be caught up to date on the first part of our moving story, you can find it HERE.

So….I was sent home on bed rest at week 29 of my pregnancy with Spencer. It was certainly a tough time for me- I hate sitting still. I hate doing nothing. I also dread accepting help from others….I feel so badly having my burdens transferred over to others…..but, I had to truly lean on friends to help me when they offered because I truly could not do it on my own.

I was about 33 weeks pregnant; still at home, still on bed rest when my husband and I decided to take our home off the market and put a pause on its sale as well as our search for a new home. It was too much! House showings, the cleaning and presentation, etc.

Exactly one week later Spencer was born! 6 weeks premature and admitted straight to the NICU. We truly count it as God’s wonderful provision that we took our house off the market prior to Spencer’s birth as he had his own set of needs and complications.

We decided to keep our home off the market until the new year and then reconsider putting it back up for sale! We are very thankful for this decision 🙂

In February of 2013 we re-viewed a home that was also previously on the market in 2012 (at the same time as ours) that we really liked but was out of our price range. Like $40,000 out of our price range, actually! It had come down a touch in price so we took a peek. We LOVED the house. But still, knew we could not afford it; so we kept looking.

In March 2013 we put our house back on the market! Again, lots of interest but no offers.

Until ……one lovely day in May 🙂 We finally had a reasonable offer! We accepted the offer and proceeded with the checklist for removal of conditions: financing (check), insurance (check), home inspection ……

Yikes.

Come back for part three next week on Monday 🙂

Jesus, thank you! Thank you that you have plans for a brighter future than we could possibly ever plan. I pray that we will learn to be better at trusting you with all things; relinquishing all of the control over to you. You have proven to be nothing but completely faithful in all things, with bigger blessings than we know how to pray for. I pray for my friends who are in tough situations right now- Jesus I pray that you will cover them with an absolute knowing that you “got this”; no matter how big or how small their situation is! Thank you God for this testimony of your faithfulness that I have the privilege of sharing with my sisters. I pray that it will strengthen their faith in you. In your name I pray, Amen.

{Faith} Our moving story!

By: Mandy Hill

And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6)

The story of how we got to our our current home is nothing short of another amazing testimony of our God’s amazing provision and faithfulness.

It all began on a cold wintery night back in February 2012. My husband and I were discussing our finances and our goals/dreams. We shared about our goal to own a home with a bedroom for everyone and a ‘playroom’! At that time we owned a three bedroom home which served us well with our two children….The only dilemma was that I was due to deliver our third child in just four months.

‘Just for fun’ we browsed real estate online….after figuring out what our budget was for a new home we looked specifically into homes in that price range. We very excitedly happened upon a home that seemed very ideal! 5 bedrooms (we only needed four, but we would use the fifth as a playroom!), 2 bathrooms, and a beautiful pool in the backyard! After a quick call to our agent we found ourselves taking a tour that very night!

We l-o-v-e-d that house. It was vacant, so we very easily imagined where we would place our furniture. Our children, who also came along for the tour, were delighted with it as well. The following Sunday was an open house and so we brought some good friends of ours, who build homes, to check it out and they gave us a very confident thumbs up! It seemed like a perfect fit- so we placed an offer in on the home and it was quickly accepted. Now, to sell our home.

We put our home on the market the day our offer was accepted. There was actually a great deal of activity on our home. We had an open house that was very successful as well as several private showings. But, no offers.

image

About a month later we had a call in from our agent that a cash offer had come in on the house we had hoped to make our home. Because our offer was a ‘house-to-sell’ offer, it would take precedence over our offer if we didn’t sell our home within seven business days. We prayed and hoped for an offer to come in on our home….but those seven days came and they went and the deal was sealed with someone else’s name on the dotted line.

We had a sweet peace through it all. We knew and believed that God had things in control. Were we disappointed? Yes. But did we doubt or lose hope in our God? No.

The very next month I went into premature labour at 28 weeks. I was laid up in hospital for a week and then sent home for the remainder of my pregnancy on complete bed rest. My gracious husband would prepare our home for showings and take care of our children’s needs all while balancing his full time ministry position at our church. I will be eternally grateful for the way that he stepped in during those long days of ‘rest’.

It was tough on us as a family, but through it all our God was so very faithful. And….that’s not the end of the story!! Stay tuned for more from ‘Our moving story’ next Monday 🙂

Heavenly and ever so gracious Father! Thank you for your provisions over our lives! No matter what it is that we endeavour to do we know that we can count on your presence to comfort us, your Holy Spirit to guide us and your peace to bring rest for our weary souls. Thank you God in particularly today for the way that you so gently guided us through each and every decision we made as we selected and purchased our new home. Thank you for the journey you brought us through; we are so grateful for the gift of strengthened faith as a result of the way that you cared for us so. I pray that through this testimony of your faithfulness that even one of my sister’s faith may also be renewed and/or increased. We give you every bit of glory! In Jesus name, Amen.